Cliff jumping and adrenaline: McCrae Lake

If you have not figured it out by now, I am not one to back down from a challenge. Even when everyone else thinks it’s a crazy.

One of my adventure checklist items is cliff jumping.  I’ve jumped from small cliffs, but never a “real” cliff. This summer I had been to a cottage on the Georgian Bay and the rocky scenery struck me as likely to have jumping rocks. Googling lead me to McCrae Lake conservation area, which is close to the cottage.

The morning of our cliff jumping dawned to a cloudy overcast sky.  We tracked weather and headed out during a lull in the rain. We took the easy 100m portage into McCrae Lake from the Georgian Bay. Light winds blew, as we passed campsites along the lake.  We rounded Bear Island to see the cliffs high above.

Near the top

They were much bigger than expected.  25m cliffs did not sound high, until I converted it to 82 feet in my head. We checked the depth of the water, just to be sure, before climbing to the top. Although these are regularly used to cliff jump, it was nice to be partially assured before jumping.

We got to the top, where I was promptly told how crazy I am.  No one seemed keen and with the adrenaline pumping, I stepped back to take a running leap off the cliff.

There was buzzing in my ears and the feeling of falling. Time slowed down. Shouldn’t I have hit the water by now? I let out a scream.

It is funny how time seems to slow in moments of adrenaline.  Skydivers call this time distortion or theTachy Psych effect. In all my time skydiving, I’ve never had this feeling, but apparently cliff jumping delivered just enough adrenaline for it. I think it was the need to run and jump off the cliff, as opposed to stepping off, that created the adrenaline.

Paddling in

Finally the cool water hit like a wall. I didn’t enter the water straight, so I felt the discomfort from hitting the water at speed on the right side of my body. Who knew I would find this scarier than skydiving? What an experience.

No one else jumped from the 82 foot cliff, but we passed time jumping from the surrounding lower cliffs. There is a channel between the cliffs and Bear Island that is perfect for a swim. Even if you don’t want to jump, a hike to the top of the cliffs is well worth the view.

Although I probably would not camp here, due to its accessibility, the conservation area offers some beautiful scenery for a day trip. My next visit to McCrae Lake will include a stop at Elephant Rock and hopefully some outdoor rock climbing.

Until next time!


McCrae Lake map, courtesy of @McCraeLake on Twitter

9 thoughts on “Cliff jumping and adrenaline: McCrae Lake

    1. You got a video or pictures? Where on the cliff did you jump from it looks like you’d need a really good leap to clear the rocks on the bottom

      1. If looking at the cliff, I jumped from the far right. You really do have to jump away from the cliff if jumping from the top – the rock does go “out,” so you have to clear the lower shelves. I would use a lot of caution and it is certainly at your own risk.

        There are lower cliffs you can jump from that are flatter. Although many people jump here, we also attached a rock to a string to test the water depth first too. You actually need fairly deep water for cliff jumping, which can change from season to season.

        The only video I have is off the GoPro on my hand which doesn’t show the rock cliff well.

        I looked on the McCrae lake twitter to try and find some photos. This shows how you need to jump out:

        This video I googled shows the rock pretty well and is the same exit spot I used:

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